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Some Things Can't Be Taught

In my heart I know I'm not as perfect as I sometimes like to think I am.  At times I annoy myself with my little habits and quirks.  However, I have a few fine qualities and traits I wish desperately to pass on to my children. Sadly I'm finding that certain things cannot be taught or forced.

1.  A deep and abiding love of spaghetti — Try as I may, I cannot seem to choose any of the foods my kids love.  I offer them a variety of foods and they nearly always make choices that leave me scratching my head and saying, "Hmm…What?"

Now as much as I love smoked oysters, I can understand why they're not a huge draw to young children, but SPAGHETTI is the perfect food.  If I had to eat one dish for the rest of my life, it would be whole wheat pasta with Prego.  That hearty combination got me through five years of college and many nights of mommy cooking burnout.

But Magoo will have none of it.  Literally.  He will not touch a noodle that has been defiled by the hideous red sauce.  I wonder how he can possibly "NO WANT IT" but the more I force encourage him to try it, the more resistant he becomes.  I am left to wait and hope – and throw him a crust of bread when he refuses to eat dinner with the family.

Then there's Laylee who upon tasting a sample at Costco became completely enamored with "clim" chowder, a dish I was ecstatic never to eat again once I had a home of my own.  She now begs for the stuff regularly and I pop open a can for her with one hand while plugging my nose with the other.

2.  Bravery and a daring sense of adventure  — Growing up I was lovingly nicknamed Kamikaze Kate.  I thrived on being a daredevil, pushing the limits to try the scariest rides at the amusement park, to eat the spiciest foods or to trick-or-treat at the spookiest haunted houses.  I believe my dad took a special sort of delight in my bravery and the two of us were great friends.

I've always hoped to have at least one spunky little kid with a thirst for adventure, but Laylee's always been a bit dainty and fearful and I refuse to force her to do anything she's uncomfortable with.  I will not mess around with kids when they're legitimately scared of something.

Well, Wednesday night I got my wish.  Laylee was an absolute trick-or-treating warrior.  She marched from house to house in her little fairy costume amidst the gangs of teenagers dressed as gangs of teenagers, begging for me to find the spookiest houses.  "This isn't really that spooky!" she complained as I walked her up to a door with ghouls in the windows and a severed head hanging from the porch light.  So I tried harder.

When I took her to a house covered in electronic creatures and black lights, her face broke into a huge grin.  As she stepped on the doormat, a life-sized witch began cackling and moving six inches from Laylee's elbow.  She jumped and her eyes looked like they would pop out of her head.  "I'm not scared, just surprised," she called to me from the porch.  That's my girl!

3.  Green eyes.

4.  Being right — In my personal opinion, I am right most of the time.  When Laylee and I argue, she is rarely right because if she were right she'd be agreeing with me and we wouldn't be arguing, right?  If only everyone in the world could be as right as I am all the time, we'd all get along so well.  Sigh!

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